Dentist visits have always been dreaded not only by children but also adults. The sound of the dental drill makes most people shrink with fear and cause a lot of anxiety whenever the thought of pain and discomfort crosses someone’s mind.
For a long time now, removing cavities, dental crowning and performing root canals have been associated with the traditional dental drill but not anymore. Thanks to technology, Micro Air Abrasion has come to the rescue for such patients and now they can enjoy pleasant treatments.
The main goal of micro air abrasion is to pinpoint and remove early detected areas of decay, while still preserving more of the natural tooth. The procedure is also referred to as kinetic cavity preparation because air abrasion or micro abrasion is used to prepare a tooth for filling.
What is micro air abrasion?
Micro air abrasion is a new micro-dentistry technique which is used by dentists to prepare teeth for restorations. It is also used as treatment for tooth decay and is a heatless and noiseless technique compared to the traditional way used to prepare teeth for filling and removing decay. With micro air abrasion, no anesthetic is required and this means that the dentist can treat multiple teeth in one appointment.
How is it performed?
During the procedure, an instrument that resembles a mini sandblaster is used by the dentist to spray away any decay on the tooth. This is made possible by a fine stream of particles which is aimed at the decayed/stained potion of the tooth. The particles that are sprayed on to the tooth are made of aluminum oxide, baking soda mixture or silica. The particles are propelled towards the decayed tooth’s surface by compressed air or gas that runs through the dentist’s hand piece. As this goes on, some particles of the decayed tooth’s surface are removed as the stream of particles hit them. The decayed particles that become loose are then suctioned away with the aid of a thin tube.
The dentist then goes ahead and uses a special red chemical dye. This dye is used to ensure that all traces of decay are gone. The final step is to apply an acid solution to the affected area in order to roughen the surface so that any filling can be placed successfully. Specialized lights are used to harden the composite filling and then it is polished in order to make it look natural.
How to prepare for Micro Air Abrasion
In preparation for this procedure, a doctor has to thoroughly examine the teeth and assess whether this procedure is the best and most effective option. Once the decision is made, the date for the procedure is scheduled.
On the day set aside for the procedure to take place, cotton balls and rubber dams are used to segregate the teeth. They also ensure that the adjacent teeth are not affected by the procedure. The patient is given safety goggles to wear which are for protecting the eyes from the spray particles. Once all this is done, the teeth are sprayed with the silica and aluminum particles under specialized lighting and magnification.
How to recover
Recovery from the procedure takes the shortest time period because no injections are done in order for the tooth to be worked on. One actually leaves the dentists place already recovered.
As mentioned before, micro air abrasion is ideal for children and individuals who have minimal decay. This is because it eliminates sound, heat and the very well known vibrations of dental drills. The procedure can also be done to remove old composite restorations but cannot be done to remove metallic restorations such as silver amalgam fillings. This is because the procedure leaves the tooth too smooth for metal fillings to properly adhere. It is also ideal for preparing a tooth surface for sealants or bonding, removing superficial stains and discolored teeth.
Advantages of this procedure include;
- The procedure leaves more of the natural tooth untouched
- It does not require any anesthesia
- It eliminates noises and vibrations
- It is an easy and quick procedure
- It reduces further damages to the tooth (fractures and chipping)
- The tooth is left dry which is an advantage for filling placement.
- Thanks to micro air abrasion, visits to the dentist have become pleasant for both children and individuals who have always had a problem with the traditional drill.